Two prominent Italian rabbis have sharply criticized the Vatican for its deleting two anti-Semitic remarks in Good Friday prayers and then replacing them with appeals for Jews to convert, according to the European Jewish Press. Pope Benedict earlier this week announced that the terms "blindness" and "darkness," referring to Jews, would be deleted. The Pope ordered the changes after complaints from an American "inter-religious" committee about the anti-Semitic words in the prayer.
However, the new Latin text for the prayer states, "May the Lord enlighten them [the Jews] so that they recognize Jesus Christ as the savior of all men." The new prayer represents "a grave step backwards that sets a major obstacle to the continuation of the Christians-Jews relations," said Rome’s chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni. "My feeling is that the new wording is even worse than the one dated 1962," the rabbi said.
Milan's Rabbi Giuseppe Laras, chairman of the Italian Rabbinical Assembly, added that "the prayer will eventually strengthen the positions of those Jewish environments that oppose the dialogue with the Catholic Church."